I see a great amount of misinformation floating around the web on oil use and children so I want to lay out some basic safety tips for you. If you are new to oils I cannot stress enough the importance of research. To be sure you are getting the most accurate information research should be based on information provided by reputable aromatherapy websites or from licensed aromatherapists and doctors (in other words people who have studied the use of essential oils, NOT someone who sells them and has been using them for a month).
Basic safety rules for using Oils with Children
1. Babies and children should NEVER ingest oils.
Dr. Erika Krumbeck, ND licensed physician with a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine says “Essential oils are the distilled volatile aromatic constituents of the plant that are highly concentrated. Remember that one drop of essential oil is equivalent to 15-40 cups of medicinal tea, or up to 10 teaspoons of tincture. Would you ever give a child 40 cups of tea or 10 teaspoons of tincture? My goodness, I hope not.” (Krumbeck, E. 2014, September 8, When to Not use Essential Oils retrieved from
If your child accidentally ingests some essential oils, DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Call your general practitioner unless signs of poisoning are present, then you should immediately bring your child and the bottle that was consumed, to the nearest emergency room. (Anthis, C. 2014, August 14. Safe Essential Oils use with Babies and Children retrieved from http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/essential-oil-safety-babies-children/)
2. Oils used with babies and children should ALWAYS be diluted.
Using oils Neat (without a carrier) could possibly cause permanent sensitization. Marge Clark says in her book Essential Oils and Aromatics: A Step-by-Step Guide for Use in Massage and Aromatherapy “One of my mentors reminds me ‘sensitization is forever.’ And I know she is right. Years ago I read the books saying that lavender oils could be used neat (undiluted). I very unwisely used undiluted lavender on broken skin, and consequently set up a sensitivity reaction. Today, almost two decades later if I come in contact with lavender in any form I will immediately start a new round of contact dermatitis that can take months to heal” (Clark, M., Essential Oils and Aromatics, Sandy, UT; Silverleaf press, 2008, 32.)
And remember Babies and Children can’t always express when something hurts them so PLEASE, ALWAYS DILUTE OILS with children and babies! Also don’t forget to do a patch test on babies and children to make sure your dilution ratio doesn’t cause skin irritations and I always like to test the oils on myself before applying on my child, and recommend to others to do the same, just to be safe. For a dilution chart click the below link: EO Dilution Chart
3. Introduce oils slowly, One at a time. . .
Just like you introduce new foods to babies one at a time to make sure their little bodies can process them without an adverse reaction, you should introduce essential oils one at a time to make sure their little bodies can process them without an adverse reaction.
4. Always keep oils away from eyes and mucus membranes (nose and mouth).
Just don’t do it. If essential oils get in eyes flush immediately with milk and then water. (You can also use milk or a carrier oil to flush essential oils off your hands if you end up with excess essential oil on your hands.)
5. Use extreme Caution when using oils on children with asthma
“Most essential oils will inflame a sensitive respiratory tract. I have heard from some of my naturopathic colleagues who have seen frightening cases of children completely unable to breathe because of essential oil-induced asthma attacks,” says Dr. Erika Krumbeck, ND (Krumbeck, E. 2014, September 8, When to Not use Essential Oils retrieved from
Below is a list of age recommendations of some essential oils for babies and children by two different experts. This is by no means a complete list of oils and in some cases the two experts disagree on which age oil use is appropriate. This list is a guideline and if you have questions about a specific oil, you should do some research or consult a qualified aromatherapist for more details. When in doubt don’t use an oil on yourself or your child until you find out more. And ALWAYS DILUTE!
|Age Recommendations from Two Different Experts|
|Expert||Expert||Essential Oil Name||Latin Name|
|No. 1||No. 2|
|6-8+ Years||6+ months||Bergamot||(Citus bergamia)|
|2+ Years||Basil, Lemon||(Ociumum x citriodorum)|
|2+ Years||Basil, Sweet||(Ocimum basilicum)|
|2+ Years||Benzoin||(Styrax benzoin, Styrax paralleloneurus)|
|2+ Years||Black Pepper||(Piper nigrum)|
|7-12+ months||6+ Years||Cardamon||(Elettaria cardamomum)|
|6+ months||Carrot Seed||(Daucus Carota)|
|2+ Years||Cassia||(Cinnamomum cassia)|
|6+ months||Cedarwood, Atlas/Virginia||(cedus atlanticia, cedrus deodora, Juniperus virginiana)|
|6+ months||Cinnamon Bark||(Cinnamomum zeylanicum)|
|6+ months||Cinnaman Leaf||(Cinnamon zeylanicum)|
|6+ months||Citronella||(Cymbopogon nardus)|
|2+ Years||Clary Sage||(Salvia sclarea)|
|2+ Years||Clove Bud/Clove Leaf||(Syzygium aromaticum, Eugenia aromatica, Eugenia caryophyllata)|
|2+ Years||Copaiba Basalm||(Copaifera officinalis)|
|2-5+ years||6+ months||Coriander||(coriandrum sativum)|
|9-11+ Years||6+ months||Cypress||(cupressus sempervirens)|
|Newborn and Up||3+ months||Dill||(anthum graveolens)|
|9-11+ Years||Elemi||(Canarium luzonicum)|
|Newborn and Up||10+ Years||Eucalyptus||(Eucalyptus radiata)|
|6+ months||Fir Needle||(Abies sibirica)|
|9-11+ Years||2+ Years||Frankincense||(Boswellia carterii)|
|2+ Years||Garlic||(Allium sativum)|
|2-6+ months||6+ months||Geranium||(Pelagorium graveolens)|
|Newborn and Up||3+ months||German chamomile||(Matricaria rectutita)|
|2-5+ years||2+ Years||Ginger||(Zingiber officinale)|
|2-5+ years||6+ months||Grapefruit||(Citrus paradisi)|
|2-5+ years||6+ months||Helichrysum||(helichrysum angustifolium)|
|6-8+ Years||Ho-wood||(Cinnamomum camphora, Laurus camphora)|
|2+ Years||Hyssop||(Hyssopus officinalis)|
|2+ Years||Juniper Berry||(Juniperus communis)|
|Newborn and Up||3+ months||Lavender||(Lavandula Agustifolia)|
|2-5+ years||6+ months||Lemon||(Citrus limonum)|
|6-8+ Years||Lemon Eucalyptus||(eucalyptus citriodora)|
|2+ Years||Lemongrass||(Andropogon citratus, Andropogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon flexuosus|
|2+ Years||Lime||(Cirtus x aurantifolia)|
|Newborn and Up||6+ months||Mandarin||(Citris reticulata)|
|6-8+ Years||Marjoram||(Origanum majorana)|
|9-11+ Years||2+ Years||Melissa||(Melissa officinalis)|
|6-8+ Years||2+ Years||Myrrh||(Commiphora myrrha)|
|6-8+ Years||Myrtle||(Myrtus communis)|
|2-6+ months||6+ months||Neroli||(citrus aurantium)|
|7-12+ months||6+ Years||Niaouli||(melalecua viridiflora)|
|2+ Years||Oregano||(Origanum onites, Origanum smyrnaeum, Origanum vulgare, Origanum compactum,|
|2+ Years||Oregano||Origanum hirtum, Thymbra capitata, Thymus capitatus, Coridothymus capitatus, Satureeja capitata)|
|2-5+ years||Ormenis flower
|2+ Years||Patchouli||(Pogostemon cablin)|
|7-12+ months||6+ months||Palma Rosa||(cymbopogon martinii)|
|7-12+ months||6+ months||Petitgrain||(Citrius aurantium)|
|6-8+ Years||6+ months||Pine||(Pinus sylvestris)|
|2-5+ years||6+ months||Ravensara||(Ravensara Aromatica)|
|Newborn and Up||3+ months||Roman Chamomile||(Anthemis nobilis)|
|6+ months||Rosalina||(Melaleuca ericfolia)|
|2-6+ months||6+ months||Rose otto||(Rosa Damascena)|
|6+ months||Sandalwood||(Santalum Spicatum)|
|2+ Years||Spearmint||(Mentha cardiaca, Mentha spicata)|
|6-8+ Years||Spikenard||(Nardostachys jatamansi)|
|6+ months||Spruce||(Picea abies, Picea Glauca, Picea mariana, Picea rubens)|
|6-8+ Years||6+ months||Sweet Orange||(Citrus sinensis)|
|2+ Years||Sweet Marjoram||(Marjorana hortensis)|
|7-12+ months||6+ months||Tangerine||(Citrus reticulata)|
|2-6+ months||6+ months||Tea tree||(Melalecua Alternifolia)|
|2-5+ years||2+ Years||Thyme linalool||(Thymus vulgaris, type linalol)|
|2+ Years||Tumeric||(Curcuma longa)|
|2+ Years||Valerian||(Valeriana officinalis)|
|2+ Years||Verbena (Lemon)||(Aloysia triphylla, Aloysia citriodora, Lippa citrodora, Lippa triphylla)|
|2+ Years||Vetiver||(Vetiveria zizanioides)|
|2-5+ years||3+ months||Yarrow||(Achillea millefolium)|
|9-11+ Years||Ylang, ylang||(Cananga odorata)|
Sources and Recommended Reading:(The above lists are from Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child: More Than 300 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Essential Oil Blends by Valerie Ann Worwood , from Safe Essential Oil Use with Babies and Children by Christina Anthis and Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals-, 2e by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young PLEASE NOTE THIS LIST DOES NOT COVER ALL ESSENTIAL OILS IF YOU ARE UNSURE IF IT IS SAFE TO USE AN ESSENTIAL OIL ON YOUR CHILD OR BABY CONSULT A CERTIFIED OR REGISTERED AROMATHERAPIST OR JUST DONT USE IT)
Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals-, 2e by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young
I am NOT a doctor or medical professional. If you are seeking medical advice please do so from a qualified professional. Products and Information on this site are not intended to diagnose, prevent or cure any disease or ailment. FTC disclosure: I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement/recommendations/testimonial or link to retail products on my website to support my blogging habit. I will never link to a retail site I do not myself use and recommend.
When we first moved into our home we went looking for a dog. I had always had dogs growing up but for the past few years during apartment living we decided it was better to wait for a house with a yard before tackling finding a canine companion. I happened to run into a lady at the vet’s office that I had worked with doing animal rescue. While the group I worked with strictly dealt with cats, her group focused on cats and dogs. I inquired whether or not her group had any Australian Shepherds or the like currently in the program. She said they did not, but she had a lady contact her about help placing an Aussie and she would forward me the lady’s information.
I contacted the women and we arranged for a meeting with a dog named Sadie. The lady we met with was a park ranger and had found Sadie abandon in one of her parks. She said Sadie was probably there about a week before the park flooded and she felt guilty and brought Sadie home with her. She lived in an apartment with a German Shephard puppy and even though she said she would love to keep Sadie, she really didn’t think it was fair to have her in an apartment. We took Sadie home with us that afternoon.
After we had Sadie for about a month I could totally understand why someone might have abandoned her somewhere. She was about 9 months old and a super high energy Catahoula mix, which was a world of difference for me having had two low energy Pitties as my last dogs. After a half dozen pair of shoes and a few shirts were eaten we kennel trained, figured out busy toys and discovered dog parks. Later on Sadie was able to start going to work with my husband for a while and all these things helped tremendously in taming down the hyper and mischievous behavior she would display if left to her own devices for too long.
Fast forward a few years and we were blessed with a little boy. A non-sleeping, stubborn, very high energy little boy. I’ve heard more than a few times people use the turn of phrase “God never gives you more than you can handle.” Sometimes I have really questioned that phrase. When my teeny tiny baby would only nap an half an hour at a time making it near impossible to get any task completed and when it would take 2 hours to get him to go to sleep at night I really thought that line was a load of bull. Some days I really struggled. Some days I still struggle. Sometimes I wonder if I really can handle everything that’s been thrown my way. Sometimes I wonder if I have been given more than I can handle. Sometimes the thought of running away cross my mind (I don’t but sometimes the thoughts still flicker.) Why does my child seem so much more difficult than other children?
Then, I read a horror story about something a parent that has done to a child and I think maybe that phrase means something else.* Maybe I was blessed with this bouncy little high energy child because I would never do one of those things that you read about on the news or see in the paper. Maybe that’s really what that phrase means. I was sent this child because I have the temperament to deal with all the crazies. I have learned the tools that are required to deal with a child of this temperament. Maybe I was sent a crazy Catahoula mix dog as a test run and when I passed that test I was then sent a child with a similar personality. Maybe. And even if not, it helps me have a little more patience when I think about things using that mindset. Whatever the answer is I love my dog and my child and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
*In all honesty sometimes I can’t even read the stories I don’t make it past the titles before my eyes start tearing up and I get so incredibly angry.
For years I worked in animal rescue and when I finally took the plunge from fur babies to human babies I quickly learned that those years in animal rescue helped prepare me for the adventures of motherhood (or did they?)
You would think clipping hundreds of tiny little cat claws and dog nails would help prepare you for the task of trying to clip tiny little human nails. I’ll take trimming a critter’s nails over those of a squirmy little babe any day. At least with the critters you can wrap them in a towel or lie on top of them and accomplish the job in one sitting. (I don’t think CPS would take too kindly if you tried these methods with your mini human). When trimming the nails of a toddler I am lucky to get one hand’s worth of nails total in one sitting, it takes all week to get all 20 little fingers and toes trimmed and by the time you do accomplish this feat, it’s time to start over.
Rise and Shine
I had a diabetic cat for a period of time that required insulin shots in the morning and evening with his morning and evening meal. This cat would wake me up every morning by sitting on the pillow and meowing next to my head. If I would shoo him away he would sit in the hallway (just outside of sock throwing range) and continue his serenade until I would get my lazy butt out of bed to give him his shot and his breakfast. This helped prepare me for a toddler who bounces awake first thing in the morning, pulls all my covers off, grabs my hand and tugs me out of bed. (In all honestly both ways are more effective than the alarm clock that has a snooze button.)
Rules Boundaries and Limitations
According to expert dog trainer, Cesar Milan when training dogs you need to give them rules, boundaries, and limitations. His same theory can be applied to training; um, I mean teaching, your toddlers and small children. You must be the pack leader. You set the rules for the child and if they do not follow the rules they can go to time out (although I don’t suggest using the dog kennel for the child’s time out, again CPS might frown upon this practice). Repetition will be required. When your child masters following commands, um, I mean behaving properly, a trip to the park is a great reward. Unlike with pups I do not recommend using food as a reward during training with children (unless it’s broccoli and mini carrots).
If you have pets you are already somewhat of an expert at poo, or so you think. Let me warn you cleaning cat boxes and picking up poo in the yard is nothing compared to the bowels of a baby. Hand me the litter scoop and doggie bags any day because I’d much rather clean up that mess than the one in my child’s diaper. I did quickly learn, though, the doggie poo bags are excellent for bagging dirty, smelly diapers. I promise you one of the best tricks I ever learned was keeping a roll of doggie poo bags in the diaper bag, you never know when they will come in handy.
One thing that’s great about our pets is that they shower us with unconditional love. Dogs are super happy to see us when we get home every day, drowning us in slobbery kisses and cats will rub against your legs and purr (especially if you’re near the food bowl to show us they at least tolerate our presence in their house). A child’s response to us is even more heartwarming. Their little eyes light up when we pick them up from daycare and they run uncontrollably around the room screaming and expressing their joy at our return. They throw their little arms around us and smile and laugh. It is in those little smiles and laughs and the almost bursting fullness you feel in your heart that will lead you to realize that this is a love that your pets never even came close to preparing you for.
Bang, Bang, BANG.
You watch in horror as your child smacks their head on the couch, the wall, the floor, their crib, a door, your leg… whatever happens to be closest to them at the moment. You think to yourself, “That was odd,” and hope you were just hallucinating from lack of sleep.
Bang, Bang, BANG.
Your child then repeats this odd and rather concerning behavior of banging their head and this being the second time you witness this feat, your throat drops into the pit of your stomach as you realize you were NOT hallucinating. Your child is indeed purposely banging their head on things. Now your whole body is tingling and your mind is racing as minor panic mode sets in. You are convinced there is something seriously wrong with your child, so you do what all mothers do best when they have a problem, you Google that shit. You read article, after article until you come to the conclusion your child is indeed a “Headbanger”.
Research says that about 20% of children are headbangers. Reading statistics like this does not make us, as mothers, feel any better. We don’t want our child to be part of statistics like this, and if it’s so common why do none of our friends children seem to be doing it?
Why is my child banging their head?
There could be many reasons you child is banging their head. Self-soothing, pain relief, an outlet for frustration, attention seeking and in some cases developmental disorders seem to be the main reasons toddlers head bang. So, great how do I know which category my child falls into?
In the cases of self-soothing and pain frustration, the offenders often bang their head repeatedly or rhythmically while they are playing or when trying to sooth themselves while the crib. Frustration bangers head banging seems to come more in bursts when they can properly express their feelings or become overly stimulated. Attention seekers may head bang when they want attention from you. Head banging can be a sign or a developmental disorder, but I caution you not to burst into tears yet as headbanging alone is not enough to diagnose a developmental disorder and head banging in itself is quite common.
So what do I do?
Some researchers say you should ignore the behavior, that they will outgrow it. That might be easy for them to say but they don’t have to witness this odd behavior several (or a lot more than several) times a day every day. I am sorry, but when my child is doing a behavior to himself that seems hurtful I am definitely not going to stand around to watch the show. Every time he would smack his head on a cabinet or door, or even the floor I would cringe and fight back tears. There had to be better advice than Ignore the behavior.
We tried holding him when he got frustrated and telling him “No hurt baby,” when he would bang his head. We tried really hard to make sure he got lots of positive attention. We rocked him, a lot. We would place him in a room with carpet, pillows or a bed so he wouldn’t hurt himself (as badly). I figured out my child was a frustration head banger and I engaged other moms for advice. One comment a mother said stood out with me. She said not to worry too much, that it lessens with time and growing communication skills. We had already been trying to teach the babe sign language, but after this comment we ramped up the signing effort and I also made an extra effort to observe him more intensely so I wasn’t missing any of his communication cues. For us the sign language helped immensely. The more he learned to communicate with us the more the head banging began to diminish.
The experts say that most children outgrow head banging by age three, so between now and then while you are trying to deal with this newly discovered toddler trait, try not to worry too much, keep your child as safe as you can while they are head banging, repeat to yourself, it will be okay. I found this snippet by Dr. Alan Greene to help me, “Curiously, one large study of this habit in healthy children found head-bangers to be measurably advanced compared to their peers. If anything, then, head banging in healthy children can be a sign of increased intelligence.” It made me think the problems of head banging might be small compared to the problems that come with a highly intelligent child.
My least favorite question at this point in my life is, “When are you having another baby?”
What I would like to tell the person who asks me this is “It’s none of you fuc*ing business.” But today I was feeling polite and since I have to see this person on a regular basis at work instead I responded with, “I don’t know maybe when my 2 year old sleeps through the night every night. I have other goals I would like to get accomplished this year before I think about another baby” (My usual response it “Why don’t you come watch my child for a couple of days and then ask me that again. . .”)
I have a very high energy child. I come from an animal rescue background and children, especially babies and toddlers, are very comparable to puppies. . . if my child was a puppy he would be a Husky or some type of herding breed (Border Collie, Catahoula, Aussie Shepherd). In other words my child is smart as a whip with a need to be busy. (All my animal people will totally get this, for you non animal types, keep reading.)
I have a child who has never been a good sleeper and who has so much energy I still take naps when he does on the weekends just so I can keep up with him. He was an early crawler (4 months) and an early walker (9 months). Some of the first phrases we taught him during his super early movement phase were “Feet first” (so he would not fall on his head getting on the bed or couch or whatever else he was crawling around on) and “Careful, your head!” My husband and I seriously debated for a while about getting him a helmet. . .
So in all honesty, I don’t even know if I want another child. . . I have flickers of “it would be nice for the babe to have a sibling”, and then I have days where I think, “My God, Woman! You can’t handle another one, you can barely handle this one.”
People say that two children are easier and that all children have different personalities, so if you get a hard first child, your second will be a lot easier. (I have talked to one mom who thinks those lines are total bull and I would like to send a shout out to her and THANK HER for being HONEST!!!). Of course, knowing the way my luck runs I would end up with two super high energy kiddos instead of one if we venture down that path, but I’m not ready to even think about that right now. I really DO have other goals I’m trying to accomplish this year and baby would not fit into the plan at the moment. My husband and I have talked about it and decided we would re evaluate at the end of the year, but until then PLEASE STOP ASKING ME. (Even then please don’t ask me.)
I would like to offer some advice to all the nosey people out there who feel the need to ask this question. I would like to ask you to think about the following before you speak without thinking. . .. Maybe the person you’re asking this question to cannot have more children and really wants to. Maybe they don’t want any more children. Or maybe they are trying to have more children and are having a really hard time of it. The question of more children is a loaded one that could either piss someone off or conjure up some not so warm and fuzzy feelings. So, when the temptation to ask starts to tiptoe across your tongue, close your mouth. It’s really none of your business anyway.
It seems like babies come forth in little swarms and another round of babies are about to make their presence known in this world. To celebrate I’m passing on a few healthful hints to new mommies (or reminders to veterans if it’s been a while.)
If you are not part of some type of online mommy support network, join one! (This is where I give a shout out to all my NHCM’s! I love you all!) You make tons of new friends and there is always someone up at 2am, or 3am or 4am when you are in desperate need of some help or a pick me up that will respond to your desperate plea for help.
-They say to sleep when baby sleeps… YES, do this! Don’t clean or organize or do anything else! SLEEP. (I am still a big fan of this rule and love taking weekend naps with my toddler.)
-Cry it Out is not for everyone. A lot of people will tell you to let your baby cry themselves to sleep or “self-soothe”. I am NOT a fan of this method. I just cannot do it and you don’t have to either. Sarah Ockwell-Smith has a great article about it Here: Self Settling-What really happens when you teach a baby to self soothe to sleep. –
About Breastfeeding and Pumping
-Breastfeeding isn’t easy, try not to get frustrated (which can be so very hard). Keep Trying and Ask for Help if you need it! Lactation consultants are great! Also Le Leche League International- is a great resource
-Breastfeeding is messy keep a burp rag nearby.
-There are many different tools that can help make nursing easier, like nipple shields and fenugreek. . . try them if you’re having trouble. Using tools to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals does not make you defective.
-Pumping sucks, but you should do it if you can, build a stock before you go back to work, it’s amazing how quickly it can deplete.
-Watch the video that comes with your pump. Sometimes it takes two or three or four or five times to figure it out. (Like,oh duh, the dial turns up higher than the stupid little picture above it.)
-Pumping can be messy, keep a burp rag nearby.
-Use your friends who have or do Breastfeed and pump as a resource. They are an invaluable resource!
-They say you will change 8-12 diapers a day in the beginning. I swear it was more and I think sometimes I’m still changing 8 a day.
-Diapers are labeled all sorts of different fancy ways: swaddlers, snug and dry, cruisers etc… I haven’t found much of a difference except the color change indicator is way cool! Most brands seem to be about the same quality. (I didn’t choose to cloth diaper, but to all the moms who do I just want to let you know I think you’re awesome)
-For kicks and giggles put a diaper through the washing machine to see how much they can really hold (Oops, did I really do that? Why Yes. . . Yes, I did).
Cheers and Congratulations!
My Dearest Child,
How is it that you are already two? Two years ago, today, I held you in my arms for the first time as a tiny, newborn baby. Today you are tiny, little boy.
I have trouble pinpointing when the metamorphosis from baby to tiny, little boy took place. The transition seemed to happen overnight. . . and after a few brief moments of panic with my mind screaming “What happened to my baby?”, I am learning to be okay with the transition.
I love watching you grow and progress! You are capable of so much and are learning more daily! Never does a day go by without you amazing me in some way. From your powerhouse athletic skills of kicking and throwing balls, climbing on any and everything (and your new stuntman trick of jumping off the bed). . . to your communication through signing and speaking.. . you repeat the long multi syllable words with such precision (yet rarely speak the short words) and when words fail you, sign language helps you express yourself.
Your progression over these quick but short years has been momentous, and I look forward to many, many more.
I love you dear child.
When you are pregnant, and after you have your little bundle of joy, you get bombarded from all directions with unsolicited advice. Friends, family, your doctors and even strangers feel the need to tell you: what you will need, what you will want, what you should and what you shouldn’t do with your baby. A few words of caution: most of the advice you will receive will be utterly worthless. Did you read that, utterly worthless! But…a few randomly tossed pieces of advice will stick to you like glue and you will rack your post pregnancy brain to no end trying to remember what saint of a person delivered you such advice so you can send them a Thank You note with a gift card for their genius.
1. Have a diaper party and buy diapers once every paycheck while you are pregnant. If you aren’t part of the cloth diaper revolution I suggest you start stocking up on diapers! This technique lets your wallet feel the pain in advance and then if you get in a pinch with money a little later on your baby’s butt can still be covered. Buy all different sizes newborn-6. Yes, it will take up some of your precious storage, but let me tell you how awesome it is to NOT have to buy diapers all the time during the first year of baby’s life, you just open the door to the closet and, wham, take your pick. (On a side note your husband will thank you for not having to make a run to the store in the middle of the night because you thought you had enough diapers to make it through until morning. He got his fill of that when you sent him for hummus and watermelon at midnight while you were pregnant.)
2. Sleep when baby sleeps. I think a lot of us have heard this one and don’t think much of it, until we actually do it! I cannot tell you how much you should heed this advice! I still do this and my baby is almost two! Most mothers are sleep deprived and can use every extra wink of sleep they can get. If you put your baby down for a nap and try to accomplish anything, that little sucker will wake right up, babies have a sixth sense that kicks in anytime you try to get something done and they will immediately put a stop to progress of any kind. If you sleep while they are sleeping, you feel better and I swear they sleep for longer because they can sense they aren’t missing anything. (For hands free cleaning try wearing baby in a sling/carrier of sorts.)
3. Get a good baby monitor. You will appreciate this for the few nights the baby actually sleeps in their own bed. You can spy on your spouse while they are in with the baby, so you know if you need to come flying in to fix something they are doing wrong. And if you need to go outside for a minute to scream and release a little tension of your own, you can watch your little angel on the monitor to make sure your own screaming doesn’t in turn cause their screaming.
4. Find a good online mommy group and join! Because, let’s face it, the only other people that are awake at 2:30 in the morning who willimmediately respond to a question you post (because they are also up) is another mom. If you have a good mommy group you can post all sorts of questions you are too embarrassed to ask your friends or family and you will get NO JUDGEMENT because they know exactly what you are talking about and want to help you through it the best they can!
All the advice on what items you need for baby are opinions. Different things work for different babies and parents. Take all this advice with a grain of salt (even mine). It’s all trial and error when it comes to yourbaby. You will hear people say you can’t live without “blah, blah, blah”… but the truth is, if you didn’t know it existed, you might just be able to.
Even before I had a child of my own I would sometimes look at people’s baby registry’s and think “Do these people even know what they need for a baby?” The truth is before you have a child of your own it really can be hard to wade through all the hundreds of baby items that are supposed to simplify your life and figure out what it is you will really need. When I make up gift baskets for baby showers I try to give the parents to be things I feel like they will actually use. I also like to try to add a personal touch.
Some of the staples I like to include in a basket of baby goodies are as follows:
Diapers– You can never have enough diapers and the good thing about diapers is you can give a box of a larger size so the baby can grow into the, babies grow fast and aren’t always in the newborn/1 size for very long so even size 2 or 3 can be appreciated by the parents. (If you know the parent’s are going to be cloth diapering I would ask them what brand they are looking at using and maybe get them one or two of these or just skip the diapers altogether).
Wipes– Dirty bottoms, spit up, sticky hands… Wipes are just convenient to have around, everywhere in the house. My child is almost 2 and I probably have a package in almost every room of the house. I always go with a natural type of wipe because some babies are super sensitive and I also personally can’t stand the smell of some of the scented wipes.
Bottle/Sippy Cups– Bottles are always good. Even for a breast feeding mom, bottles are good to have around in case Mom needs a break. And I promise almost every child at some point will use a sippy cup (even if only in the car). Everyone has their own opinions of what bottles/Sippy’s are best. I loved our Advent bottles/Sippy’s, but they are a little pricey compared to some brands. My main recommendation is the less parts the better, it’s easy to forget parts when there are a bunch or lose them and when there are less parts the cups/bottles are easier to keep clean.
Bottle Brush– I can’t tell you how many bottle brushes we went through with our own babe. They are inexpensive, but appreciated. Throw a couple in the package.
Clothes– Hand me downs are okay to give and are usually greatly appreciated, just make sure they are free from stains and tears and in good condition. I usually give these in a separate box and don’t include in the basket of goodies. If you want to buy something new for the babe I recommend buying larger sizes of clothes, anywhere from 12 months-2T. I promise someone will give the expectant parents really cute newborn size onesies. What they might not get is larger sizes that they will need in the near future because overnight it seems like your baby grows out of one size and into another.
Blanket– If you are super crafty you can make a blanket. I haven’t yet attempted this, but instead give light muslin swaddle blankets. I like the Aden + Anais blankets. And if you’re anything like me you find that babies come in bunches so you could buy one pack of blankets and split them between goodie baskets.
Books– You can never have enough books for your child. Get them one of your childhood favorites, or your child’s favorites. For children under two I really recommend board books as babies find tearing and eating pages amusing.
Butt Balm– This is one of my personalized items. I tried making my own butt balm and found that it works so much better than commercial products I have vowed to never use or promote the commercial products again. I will warn you if you aren’t into essential oils the butt balm can be a little pricey to make, but it lasts for a long time, so I think it’s worth the investment. I use a recipe from The Hippy Homemaker, but I also add tea tree oil to mine. You can find the recipe on her blog at http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/the-best-homemade-first-time-moms-kit-or-any-new-mother-for-that-matter/ (Also her blog is awesome!)
Homemade Anti-Bacterial Spray– Another personalized item. Because really, who wants to use chemicals on or around their tiny newborn? This can be used on hands or on surfaces and is great to keep tucked in a diaper bag. I will again refer you to The Hippy Homemaker for the recipe http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/the-best-homemade-first-time-moms-kit-or-any-new-mother-for-that-matter/
Name Flag– I like being crafty and adding a personal touch so I usually add a little name flag in the basket of goodies. It isn’t hard or super expensive and it’s something I can hand sew in about half an hour (If the babies name isn’t terribly long). You can use Felt, Ribbon and pre-cut felt letter that stick on, and I promise everyone likes something with their babies name on it.
Container– When you have a child you can NEVER have enough storage containers. Give the gift in something that can be used for storage! A basket, a plastic container with a lid, a sturdy cardboard box with a lid (like photo boxes) anything that can be re-used as storage.
I promise with these few items you can’t go wrong and the gifts will be used and appreciated.
FTC disclosure: I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement/recommendation/testimonial and or link to retail products in this article to support my blogging habit. I will never link to a retail provider I have not used. I will only link to providers I would personally recommend.